NEW YORK- The Palestinian Authority is claiming that it has arrested two terrorists involved in the recent murder of three Americans in Gaza, and the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging the Bush administration to demand that the PA surrender the terrorists to the United States for prosecution.
The three murdered Americans were John Branchizio, 37, of Texas, John Linde Jr., 30, of Missouri, and Mark Parsons, 31, of New Jersey. They were security personnel guarding a convoy of U.S. diplomatic vehicles that was attacked by Palestinian Arab terrorist at the Beit Hanoun junction in the Gaza Strip on October 15, 2003.
According to the New York Post (Nov.5, 2003), the PA police claim to have arrested two prime suspects in the bomb ambush. The pair supplied the large roadside bomb used in the attack.
The New York Times reported on November 3, 2003, that the U.S. is reluctant to prosecute Abu Abbas, the Palestinian Arab terrorist who masterminded the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro, during which wheelchair-bound U.S. tourist Leon Klinghoffer was murdered. Abbas was captured by U.S. forces in Iraq last April, but the Bush administration has filed no charges against him even though, according to the Times, during questioning by U.S. officials, the has admitted enough to make him a co-conspirator.
Meanwhile, there has been no indication from the Bush administration that it has asked the PA to arrest and hand over Abd Al-Aziz Awda, whom the U.S. indicted in February 2003 as the founder and spiritual leader of an Islamic Jihad terror cell whose victims included Alisa Flatow of West Orange, NJ, a 20 year-old Brandeis University junior, who was murdered in a bombing near Kfar Darom on April 9, 1995; and Shoshana Ben-Yishai, 16, of Queens, NY, who was murdered in a shooting attack on a bus in Jerusalem on November 9, 2001. Awda is head of the Al Qassam Mosque in the PA-controlled Gaza Strip.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: We urge President Bush to demonstrate a sense of urgency and a more serious interest in bringing these killers to justicebefore the PA sets them free via its notorious revolving door justice. We also urge the immediate indictment of Abu Abbas, and U.S. action to capture the indicted killer Abd Al-Aziz Awda.
In a recent letter to President Bush, 70 Members of Congress wrote that U.S. action against Palestinian Arab terrorists will help ensure that the War on Terror maintains its clarity and credibility throughout the world.